Economic development strategies must put people first Thai leader says at UN

“During this period of economic uncertainties, we must not consider economic growth alone. It is important to put people at the front and centre of the development agenda,” she said in an address to the Assembly’s General Debate, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York. “This is what every government should do: putting people at the heart of the country’s economic development strategy,” she said. “Because we believe that the greatest asset of any country is its people, and how much a country can excel depends on how much its people can fully realize their potential.”The Thai leader noted added that an inclusive regional development is the way forward and would strengthen the fabric of regional peace and security, adding that Thailand and its neighbours in the region have a shared destiny.“We have a shared interest in fostering common peace and prosperity. We should, therefore, strive to prosper together because only by working together can we create much-need synergy that would support our common development,” she said. “And by prospering together, chances of conflict can be limited.”This spirit, Prime Minister Shinawatra noted, is driving the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to establish an ASEAN Community by the year 2015.“As ASEAN moves towards greater integration, great efforts are being made to close development gaps and expand connectivity across South-east Asia and beyond to the wider East Asia and South Asia,” she said. “This would help spread the fruits of development and growth wider across the continent.”In addition, the Prime Minister highlighted the need for an inclusive process at the global level as the international community considers the development agenda beyond 2015, the target date for achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).The Thai Prime Minister is one of scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.